SOF News Update 20180927 – Women in the infantry, USMC fitness standards increasing, King of Battle, SEA for 7th SFGA, more spies needed, USASOC’s SORB, big bucks for SOF, Prince and the Russians, new choppers for Aussie SOF, Syria strategy explained, Iraqs challenges and opportunities, MoDA advisor training, SOF scooter, and more.
USASOCs SORB. The Special Operations Recruiting Battalion has a tough job. It has to recruit personnel for Special Forces, Rangers, Civil Affairs, PSYOPS, and the SOAR. (Army Times, Sep 24, 2018).
Waltz for Congress. Former Special Forces officer Mike Waltz is running as the Republican candidate for District 6 in Florida. Read “Combat-Decorated Green Beret Takes on a New Enemy: The Washington Swamp”, American Thinker, September 25, 2018.
7th SFGA SEA Talks Leadership. Command Sergeant Major Terry Sanchez talks about his career and developing soldiers. Read “Leadership solidified through heritage”, DVIDS 7th SFGA, September 21, 2018.
SOF Scooter. U.S. SOF may be getting a ruggedized version of a trendy new 4-wheeled, electric-powered scooter. Read “Special Ops Troops May Get Their Own Tactical Electric Scooter”, Military.com, September 26, 2018.
New Choppers for Aussie SOF. The Australian Department of Defence is acquiring new helicopters for its SOF units. (Australian Aviation.com, Sep 26, 2018).
1st SFGA SGM Honored. The late SGM Walter M. Hetzler was recognized with the naming of a building with his name. (1st SFGA DVIDS, Sep 21, 2018).
A New Magnum P.I. Tom Selleck had a successful run playing the role of a former Navy SEAL and Vietnam veteran in the TV series Magnum P.I. A newer version of the show stars Jay Hernandez as an ex-Navy SEAL who served in Afghanistan and becomes a private investigator in Hawaii. (Hawaii News Now, Sep 24, 2018).
Syria – Mission Creep. Statements from administration officials indicate that even if ISIS is ‘finished’ in Syria U.S. troops may stay to provide stability and to limit Iranian influence. Read more in “The White House just revealed massive mission creep in Syria. Here’s why”, Military Times, September 25, 2018.
Syria Strategy Explained. Representatives from the Department of Defense testified before a House subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on the U.S. strategy for Syria on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. Looks like 5th SFGA will continue to rotate teams into and out of Syria. Read “DoD Official Explains U.S. Strategy in Syria to House Panel”, DoD News, Sep 26, 2018.
“The enemy is adaptive. Even though operations against the last pocket of ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria are underway, ISIS is transitioning to an underground insurgency. A sustained, conditions-based U.S. presence will allow us to pressure the terrorist insurgency and prevent ISIS’s resurgence while simultaneously facilitating diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.”
Patriot Batteries Moving. The U.S. plans to move four Patriot batteries from Jordan, Bahrain, and Kuwait in the near future.
Iraq – “A long way to go and a short time to get there”. Douglas Ollivant, a former NSC member, has written an ‘open letter’ to the next prime minister of Iraq (whoever he might be). He explores the many challenges and opportunities the nation faces. (War on the Rocks, Sep 26, 2018).
Fort Trump. There has been talk of building a permanent base in Poland for U.S. units to be garrisoned full-time. Poland is willing to pick up some of the cost and the Pentagon is looking at the possibility of a U.S. base in Poland. But perhaps it isn’t such a good idea . . . “Two Reasons Not to Build Fort Trump in Today’s Poland”, Defense One, September 26, 2018.
Prince and the Russians. Erik Prince continues to be in the headlines. Now some details are emerging on the meeting between the former Navy SEAL and Russians in the Seychelles weeks before the inauguration of President Trump. Parts of the meeting are allegedly about US and Russian SOF collaborating on operations against ISIS. (Daily Beast, Sep 26, 2018).
District Council Elections Cancelled. According to the Afghan constitution the government is supposed to conduct district level elections. 2018 was supposed to be the first time this has been done . . . but not so much. The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) has decided to cancel the district level elections. The parliamentary elections are still a go. Elections in Ghazni have been cancelled. The biometric ID system to eliminate voter fraud has not been fully deployed. There are twice as many national ID cards issued than there are voters. Other than that . . . things are just peachy. (Afghanistan Analysts Network, Sep 26, 2018).
Military & National Security
Mattis: Women in Infantry. SECDEF Jim Mattis says that too few women have joined infantry units to gather data on their effectiveness in combat. “Mattis Can’t Say if Having Women in the Infantry Will Work or Not”, by Jeff Schogol, Task & Purpose, September 25, 2018.
He was speaking at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia on Tuesday, September 25th. He used an example of when someone breaks into your house – who grabs a baseball bat to confront the intruder and who grabs the phone to call 9/11. Read a transcript of his remarks. See 29 minute mark of this video (DVIDS DoD News, Sep 25, 2018).
The social media world erupted into a panic with his remarks – many worried that the advances made by the Obama administration (and compliant general officers) were going to be adversely affected by SECDEF Mattis and the Trump administration. The DoD quickly put out a story to put things into context – “Mattis: More Data Needed to Assess Women’s Effectiveness in Combat Arms”, Defense Media Activity, September 26, 2018.
USMC Fitness Test to be Harder. The Marines are toughening up the standards. There will be less recovery time between Combat Fitness Test events, higher minimum passing scores, and more pull-ups for female Marines. Read “3 Ways the Marines Are Making Their Fitness Tests Tougher in 2019”, Military.com, September 24, 2018.
Spies and MAVNI. The DoD has been going slow on the accession of foreign nationals into the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program due to security concerns. Read more in “U.S. Army reservist accused of spying for Chinese government”, UPI, September 25, 2018.
MoDA Program – Training Advisors. The Program Manager for the Minister of Defense Advisors (MoDA) Program describes the training program for advisors. (Small Wars Journal, Sep 2018).
Body Armor Too Heavy? The average infantryman carried 119 pounds of gear into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. Read “Army Body Armor May be Too Heavy for Combat, Report Finds”, Military.com, September 25, 2018.
King of Battle. An Army captain, Brandon Morgan, expresses his view that we need to modernize our artillery branch. Read Artillery in Tomorrow’s Wars: Maximizing the Power of the King of Battle, Modern War Institute at West Point, September 25, 2018.
More Spies Needed. Apparently the US has some ‘intelligence gaps’ – according to CIA Director Gina Haspel. She is intent of increasing the number of CIA officers stationed overseas. (Voice of America, Sep 24, 2018).
CIA Chopper Heads to Museum. A Mi-17 helicopter that infiltrated a team of operatives into Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 is heading to a CIA museum. (USA Today, Sep 26, 2018).
RAND Paper on Intel. A group of authors have presented five changes that the Intelligence Community can make to meet the current and future challenges that the IC faces. Read Perspectives and Opportunities in Intelligence for U.S. Leaders,RAND Corporation,66 pages, September 2018.
Video – Testimony on Syria Strategy. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert S. Karem and Marine Corps Brigadier General Scott F. Benedict, the Joint Staff’s Strategic Plans and Policy directorate’s deputy director for politico-military affairs, Middle East, testify on the U.S. strategy in Syria during a House Armed Services Committee subcommittee haring in Washington, September 26, 2018. Watch DoD Leaders Discuss Syria Strategy at House Hearing, DoD News, 1 hour long.
Black Daggers Pack Chutes with Kids. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command Black Daggers Parachute Team show kids how they get ready for their jumps from the sky. (Military Times, Sep 25, 2018).
Photo: Navy SEALs emerge from water. DoD photo.